Children in Mining

Mining has always been a symbol of struggle between human need and human greed. The greed has always undermined the need. We have seen many such struggles by tribal people in India such as the one in Niyamgiri hills against Vedanta in Odisha, against POSCO in Odisha, against SAIL in Salem, Tamil Nadu and many more.

Many children across India are growing up in and around the areas where mining is conducted. Mining affects their lives directly and indirectly. The tragedy is that “mining children” are nobody’s children. The Ministry or Department that mines does not look after children and those Ministries or Departments that look after children’s issues do not have mining on their radar. So invariably, children in these areas fall between the cracks. Similarly the concerns related to these children tend to get overlooked by groups working on the issue of mining. On the other hand, groups working on children also have very little understanding of mining and its impact on children.

A study conducted by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights and Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children- Samata in the year 2010 titled-“India’s Childhood in the “Pits”- A Report on the Impacts of Mining on Children in India” has provided a glimpse into the appalling lives of children living, working, affected and exploited by mining in India.